Economic Security

Rhode Island's economy continues to lag the nation, and the effects touch every Rhode Islander.

The Genesis Center is helping unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders overcome the skills gap.
The Genesis Center is using a Foundation grant to increase education and training services that provide a 'bridge' to help unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders overcome the skills gap.

Environment for economic growth


We believe that the foundation of a strong Rhode Island economy will be quality jobs that allow our residents to support themselves. In order to have jobs, we need to have robust enterprise and a skilled workforce.

Improving Rhode Island's environment for economic growth requires leadership from the private sector, sustained attention and resources, innovation within our government agencies, and collaboration and coordination.

Our Vision

Rhode Island's strong economic environment will allow all Rhode Islanders to prosper.


  • Help businesses start and grow by strengthening the business ecosystem.
    An example of a grantee doing this work: The Center for Women & Enterprise’s Community Classrooms targets historically underserved communities by providing women and minority entrepreneurs with business training, resources, and microloans. Learn more about this strategy
    NEW: The Foundation hired Next Street to do an assessment of the small business ecosystem. Read the report here.
  • Meet needs of workforce and industry by pursuing improvements to workforce development system.
    For example: Year Up Providence is a one-year, intensive training program that provides low-income young adults with hands-on skill development, college credits, and corporate internships. Learn more about this strategy
  • Improve statewide self-esteem by promoting assets and enlisting advocates.
    For example: Buy Local RI helps to stimulate local economic activity by promoting local businesses and encouraging all Rhode Islanders to support the companies, products, and services that employ our state’s workforce. Learn more, read Building the local economy.

Desired Outcomes

A strengthened business ecosystem that supports business growth, new jobs, and an increased economic output, as indicated by:

  • Increased accessibility of resources – capital, talent, technical supports – to those companies who are seeking it.
  • Stronger networks between and among industry, business, and civic leaders, and the entities they represent.
  • More efficient start-up, development, and growth of new businesses.

An improved workforce development system that effectively prepares workforce for industry needs, as indicated by:

  • Reforms to the current system, including new and/or improved structures and changes to what and how services are provided.
  • Increased collaboration and coordination among entities within the workforce development system (employers, providers, funders).
  • Increased collaboration and coordination between the workforce and education (elementary, secondary, adult, higher) systems.
  • Establishment and deployment by programs of clear performance metrics to understand outcomes.
  • Increased outcomes for job seekers (participation, placement, and retention), particularly for underserved populations.
  • Increased satisfaction of employers.

Overall improvement in public perception of the state's economic, social, and cultural resources

Foundation-Initiated Economic Security Programs

    Buy Local RI
    A program to promote local businesses and to encourage Rhode Islanders to support local companies, products, and services
    Make It Happen RI
    An initiative to improve Rhode Island’s economy and spur public/private collaboration
    Rhode Island: It's all in our Backyard
    A campaign to uncover and elevate all that’s great in our little state

How to apply for a STRATEGY GRANT.

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